Dick Durham was Bob Robert’s 18-year old mate when the Cambria delivered its last cargo to the port at Felixstowe. Read his piece about it on the Classic Boat website.
‘Felixstowe was the first container port in the country when it opened half a century ago and yet, as the great cranes were being built, I was aboard the vessel delivering the port’s last freight under sail.
‘Standing on the mast-deck of the 91ft Thames Sailing Barge Cambria, as the narrow dock entrance neared, was the 18-year-old mate, myself, anxiously awaiting the order to stow sail. At the wheel was the 63-year-old skipper, Bob Roberts, carefully judging the ebb which was running across the mouth of the dock entrance.
‘Cambria was already long out of her time: other sailing barges had been converted to power, houseboats or yachts, while the majority had been hulked in lonely creeks. So a crowd of bystanders had gathered to watch us sail in. This did not help my growing nervous tension. There was even a young mother who turned her pram to face the water so baby could watch, too. “Come on, Bob,” I said under my breath, “give the order.” Read more…